THE WILLIAM VALE, NEW YORK
One of Williamsburg’s latest hotel additions, the William Vale, has attracted a lot of attention since it opened in August last year. In its short career, the design-led hotel aimed at a new generation of free thinkers has won several awards and been slated as New York City’s latest hot spot. Tonje Odegard from SPACE went to see what all the fuss was about…
So there’s definitively reason to fuss, as the design at The William Vale really is inspiring. Located at the heart of trendy and fashionable New York neighbourhood Williamsburg in Brooklyn, the hotel features 183 guestrooms, four F&B outlets including an award-winning rooftop bar, the city’s longest outdoor pool, a fitness centre, an urban garden, robot concierge service, and immersive meeting and events spaces. On top of that, the hotel is also home to an impressive collection of carefully selected art.
Designed by Brooklyn-based architect firm Albo Liberis with interiors by acclaimed design firm Studio Munge, The William Vale is a multi-use space that brings retail, F&B, hotel and public spaces together as a hub for both travellers and New Yorkers alike and as a backyard for the Williamsburg community.
Surrounded by a thriving nightlife and an emerging dining scene, Williamsburg is a vibrant and innovative neighbourhood that bustles with creative energy and exciting art. This image is reflected in The William Vale’s design and interiors, especially as it’s an art-infused property with hundreds of pieces placed throughout the suites, lobby and event spaces. In close coordination with the Brooklyn Arts Council, the hotel features artwork produced in Brooklyn by local artists.
When the construction of The William Vale began, everyone involved with the project agreed that the interiors should not be contrived, thematic, or plainly reflect the neighbourhood’s surroundings and iconic brick warehouses. Aspiring to offer something more than that, the building had to represent a new generation of thinking inspired by Brooklyn’s individuality, its local art community, and infused with the area’s industrial strength. As a new-build, this meant creating an authentic design solution that broke away from the exposed brickwork and distressed timber that has become so mainstream.
Complementing the building’s dynamic architecture, Studio Munge’s interiors define a curated journey through space, a modern and forward-thinking adventure featuring unexpected and timeless materials such as blonde and grey woods as well as plentiful luminous, white marble. To balance the fresh décor, contrasting black metal accents are used throughout in furniture and architectural details. Like the notes on a partition, these features punctuate the guest journey and work as a subtle, modern nod to Brooklyn’s industrial past. Also, by simplifying the colour palette to light and neutral tones, Studio Munge allows the bold art programme to freely express its message.
The lobby clearly channels Studio Munge’s idea of a journey through space with its glossy travertine-tiled floor, whitewashed wooden walls and the futuristic ceiling lighting. Adorning the entrance from the lobby area is the site-specific work of Brooklyn sculpted by internationally-recognised artist Marela Zacarias. The colour scheme from Marela’s installation is seen in the print in the centre of the lounge area.
The furniture in the lounge area is modern with a mid-century feel to it, all in neutral colours of blacks, greys and whites to balance the colourful art.
Located underneath the hotel lobby and accessed via the active lounge’s majestic marble staircase, the event floor hosts a set of forward-thinking spaces dedicated to public cross-disciplinary cultural events and private functions. The marble-tiled pre-function lobby, grand and airy, is the preferred setting for all sophisticated cocktail parties while the wood-panelled ballroom with its striking triple-height ceilings will house larger ceremonies. The salon, both modern and residential in its design, is an intimate transitional space used as a business lounge and the access point to the four meeting rooms.
The Vale Park, the hotel’s urban garden, is a 15,000 square foot elevated green space available both for the hotel’s guests and Williamsburg’s local community. Comprised of greenery and benches overlooking the skyline and walkways, the space hosts a range of health and wellness programmes.
Of the 183 guestrooms there are 25 suites and a Presidential Suite, the Vale Garden Residence. Each of the standard guestrooms feature a private balcony with iconic views of the famous Manhattan skyline. Rooms are bright and modern with a subtle monochrome décor. Through its contemporary and contrasting black accents and sophisticated custom FF&E design details, such as the metal inlay in the credenzas and the colour gradient-infused curtains, the bedrooms feel elevated and refreshing.
Imagined by Studio Munge as full extensions of the living space and a connection to the outdoors, the furnished, open-air balconies are easily accessible through the sliding floor-to-ceiling windows.
Imagined as the ultimate urban retreat, Vale Garden is The William Vale’s most magnificent duplex accommodation with living spaces across two floors. Bright and airy with extraordinary views of the city, the two-bedroom penthouse features a lofty residential living and dining space connected to a fully furnished private terrace with the open-air Jacuzzi.
From the lavish furnishings to the 15 foot tall feature wall of carved marble, every piece was carefully selected or custom-designed by Studio Munge to reach the pinnacle of urban luxury and make the guest feel like they own a piece of New York. Modern in its execution and sculptural in its form, The Vale Garden Residence is the ultimate Brooklyn hideaway.
Drinking and dining
Chef Andrew Carmellini’s NoHo Hospitality Group have come together to offer guests at The William Vale a range of different food and beverage options, while Studio Munge has created designs that thoroughly enhance the experience.
Most notably is Leuca, the Southern Italian-inspired restaurant offering a wood-fired coastal cuisine. Located on the hotel’s lower level, the space is meant to be an inviting, sophisticated yet approachable setting to socialise in. The soulful 187-seat restaurant was designed following the poetic narrative of a young couple and their little girl relocating from Europe to Brooklyn. The venue is a romantic projection of their childhood spent in Italy and reminiscent of their Nona’s country house.
Created with the returning guest in mind, Leuca can be experienced in many ways throughout the day. Featuring double-height ceilings and soaring windows make the traditionally tiled vestibule and bar the perfect setting for any meal. Refreshing natural daylight slowly switches to the warmth and glow of oversized pendants, which really brings out the custom-carved wood details on the walls.
Vast and dramatic Roman arches guide guests through the oak-cladded dining room with open views onto the bustling kitchen and rich amber hues. Featuring an engaging contemporary art programme, Leuca’s dining room’s design details are as authentic as its cuisine. Featuring honest materials in an extensive custom FF&E programme crafted either locally or in Italy, Leuca’s interiors harmoniously complement the Southern Italian menu.
Other noteworthy design elements include genuine leather-upholstered banquettes, a modular chandelier inspired by Alexander Calder, pendants, and wall sconces – all custom-made. Vitrines holding traditional Majolica pottery and hand-carved wood details on doors, bar façade and back bar are other nice touches.
The glazed ceramic tiled columns are hand-painted and the centre ceiling has been coloured black to emphasise the other distinctive components. The ceiling around the perimeter is panelled with solid wood planks and has a slight drop in height, a smooth transition that is achieved by a soft upholstered curved edge.
Westlight is the acclaimed nightlife destination on the 22nd floor that has earned the title of New York’s hottest rooftop bar. With 360-degree views of the city and an offering of crafted cocktails and a global street food-inspired menu, the place really hits the spot for Williamsburg’s trendy crowd. The glowing interiors celebrate the spectacular open vistas while inviting the guests to relax in a modernised, industrial décor. The use of black iron, natural stones, warm leathers and sensual velvet cohabitate harmoniously and reflect Brooklyn’s diversity.
Welcoming guests into Westlight, the corridor was designed as a funnel and a mysterious portal to build anticipation with hints of the discovery to come. In line with The William Vale’s brave architecture, a very graphic linear pattern livens the wooden walls and enhances the dynamic sense of arrival. To boost impact and give a trompe-l’oeil volume to its long corridor, Studio Munge selected two contrasting shades of warm wood.
The cement floor pattern, ‘Original Mission Tile’ originates from Mexico and is vibrant and energetic. It infuses the space with a touch of cultural ethnicity very representative of Brooklyn’s diversity while perfectly complementing the other architectural finishes. The grey-scale tone of the tile becomes a youthful contrasting backdrop for the colourful furniture on top.
The venue is thoughtfully laid out and layered as the most intimate and comfortable of bar lounges with a remarkably well-integrated connection to the outdoors. Details worth mentioning are the Studio Munge custom-designed hot stand and custom-designed glass partition wall crafted in Brooklyn. The leather banquettes are custom-made by Studio Munge and the bar stools, ottomans, service stations and natural stone-topped tables are all especially designed for the hotel. There are a set of beautiful leather-upholstered columns with brass accents and a custom-designed brass chandelier, also crafted in Brooklyn.
Other venues include Mister Dips, a retrofitted 1974 Airstream located in the Vale Park, selling burgers, fries and has a rotating menu of seasonal dairy dips.
Vale Pool offers light and summery cocktails as well as a menu of bar snacks in an outdoor, landscaped oasis with lounge chairs and seating areas. Featuring New York’s longest outdoor pool at 60 feet, the place is a relaxing and effortlessly cool space.
The hotel offers private dining in all its dining outlets, but also through its dedicated private dining space, the Vale Ballroom & Salon. The private dining room at Leuca will transport you to the Mediterranean in an instant with its glowing coves, whitewashed plastered walls and romantic hand-painted marine frescoes.
Already recognised by numerous design and lifestyle magazines as a ground-breaking hotel in terms of design, The William Vale has had huge success in its first year. I can only agree. The design is creative, unique, outstanding and encouraging. Remaining respectful of the past through materials and craftsmanship, the hotel is still proactive in shaping the future of Brooklyn through thought-provoking form and function. The William Vale is a bold, yet graceful designer hotel that challenges stereotypes and successfully represents a new generation of thinking.